Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Our Conference On The Seven Valleys

Our weekly book-reading sessions will soon draw to a close, after almost 2 years of being 'in conference'. It is with mixed feelings as I end this 'Tuesdays with The Hoopoe': part of me feels melancholic to part with such exquisite and enchanting company (the barrenness of having nothing to do on Tuesday nights will be felt almost immediately), yet it beckons and heralds a new stage of our journey - and that is something that must be welcomed by all the participating birds, as you embark in your journey of knowledge and experience with others.

Yet, as we face this impending end, I hope the many Tuesdays we have spent together have carved a special warm place in your hearts - as you have been a part of history in such a gathering. I always attempt and thrive to embark on exploring new and unique methods of conducting my classes in the hope of opening minds and offering fresh perspectives to my students. If this mode of instruction has been refreshing and beneficial to you, I hope this will not be the one and only time such classes are held here.

It now remains for you to take stock of all your conferences and to put them into practice - and that is something which only you have the power to accomplish and achieve. In your personal journey, remember to pray for your fellow birds as they embark on theirs - for sometimes, we cannot fly alone.

To wrap up the seven valleys that we are now reading, I hope you will find the summary below valuable and constructive, insya-Allah.

"The journey of the birds takes them through the seven valleys of the Quest, Love, Understanding, Independence and Detachment, Unity, Bewilderment and finally, Poverty and Nothingness.


  1. In the Valley of the Quest, one undergoes a hundred trials and difficulties.

  2. After one has been tested and become free, one learns in the Valley of Love that love has nothing to do with reason.

  3. The Valley of Understanding teaches us that knowledge is temporary, but understanding endures. Overcoming faults and weaknesses brings the seeker closer to the goal.

  4. In the Valley of Independence and Detachment, one has no desire to possess nor any wish to discover. To cross this dificult valley, one must be roused from apathy to renounce inner and outer attachments so that one can become self-sufficient.

  5. In the Valley of Unity, the Hoopoe announces that although you may see many beings, in reality there is only one, which is complete in its unity. As long as you are separate, good and evil will arise; but when you lose yourself in the divine essence, they will be transcended by love.

  6. When unity is achieved, one forgets all and forgets oneself in the Valley of Bewilderment. Stepping into this sixth valley, the birds become astonished at the beauty of the Beloved. Experiencing extreme sadness and dejection, they feel that they know nothing, understand nothing. They are not even aware of themselves.

  7. The Hoopoe declares that the last Valley of Poverty and Nothingness is almost impossible to describe. In the immensity of the divine ocean, the pattern of the present world and the future world dissolves. As the birds realise that the individual self does not really exist, the drop becomes part of the great ocean forever in peace. The analogy of moths seeking the flame is used.

Out of thousands of birds, only thirty reach the end of the journey. When the light of lights is manifested and they are in peace, they become aware that the Simurgh is them. They begin a new life in the Simurgh and contemplate the inner world. Si-murgh, it turns out, means thirty birds; but if forty or fifty had arrived, it would be the same. By annihilating themselves gloriously in the Simurgh, they find themselves in joy, learn the secrets, and receive Immortality.

So long as one does not realise one's nothingness and do not renounce one's self-pride, vanity and self-love, one will not reach the heights of that Immortality. Farid ud-Din Attar concluded the epilogue with the admonition that if you wish to find the ocean of your soul, then die to all your old life, and then keep silent."

5 comments:

I Am ZeroZero! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
El Guapo said...

Salam Senor Hoopoe and to all the birds that fly...

It's been a liberating journey itself listening and keeping abreast with the stories that have kept me intrigued for a long time.

Even tho here in this dead old town of Santo Domingo there's nothing much to do, I have always been intrigued to watch the antics of the birds that comes and goes in the mornings ,days, and nights and the stories that they bring. I have to say they have brought me much joy and colours to this otherwise forsaken town.

I know sometimes in life we can be oceans apart...but the smell of the ocean is ever refreshing everywhere! Ahh...the smell of ocean's spray... How I miss that.

But the joy and the pleasures of the stories that the birds bring is enough for El Guapo to 'feel' involved in this part of that journey. And I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. I am blessed and humbled indeed.

So to all the birds, spread your wings and fly and let the smell of the ocean breeze 'neath you freshen you up as you soar your souls into the far horizon and into greater heights!

I will always be a great fan of all of you.

Peace V !!!

Anonymous said...

You do not know this dear hoopoe, how "tuesdays with the hoopoe" has saved my life.

It has been a turning chapter for me, the tuesday nights feed me with so much food for my soul.

Thank you to the hoopoe and all the tuesday birds. May Allah reward all of you for what you have done for me.

castillo said...

As always, all things usually come to an end and we have to move on. Whilst most of us will have a feeling of melancholy at the end of this class, the degree and feeling is probably different in each of us.

I am sure most of us will look back on our Tuesdays with much fondness and that in itself shows how much we appreciate the sessions and the lessons learnt (apart from the mint-tea sessions after the class!).

Although there are many lessons learnt and to learn on the journey, I believe that most of the lessons have an effect especially on one's subconscious.

I pray that Inshallah we have all benefitted from the sessions one way or another, regardless of the number of times we attended.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Hoopoe for his direction and guidance in this journey as well as all the other birds for their views and input which i have derived benefit from....may we embark on future adventures together in the not too distant future.

Amin.

The Visitor said...

I doubt I can ever thank you enough dear Hoopoe for the lessons on this journey. The hardest part for me would be putting it into practise. But insyaAllah, effort must be made like what you stressed in class.

May Allah s.w.t. continue to Bless you and grant us another such opportunity, insyaAllah.

Ameen.